Features 22 Jun 2022

Quotebook: 2022 Pro Motocross Rd4 High Point

Assorted racer comments following the fourth round of the season.

In Quotebook, a selection of riders detail how their races played out in the fourth round of the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at High Point.


Image: Octopi Media.

Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM) – Fifth:
It was awesome. This week we made progress with the bike and it really translated to the weekend. I didn’t get a great start in the first moto, but I was happy that we made a lot of passes and came through the pack. I got off to that good start in moto two and it was so nice to just get clean air and run up there with the fast guys. A little slower start, got passed a little bit but got into the mix and it just felt good. The set-up felt good, track felt good and it was nice to be up front and one step closer to the podium.

Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – 13th:
The bike was feeling good in practice and I made some changes going into moto one that didn’t really benefit me. I rode really tight in the first one and salvaged ninth. Second moto, I was feeling really good – ready to rumble – and I got a good start and was running really good laps, but I ended up twisting my ankle pretty bad with two laps to go. I’m pumped on the way I was riding all day, it’s unfortunate that that had to happen at the end but we’ll focus on RedBud and try to get up there on the podium.

Tony Cairoli (Red Bull KTM) – DNF:
I look forward to this race because the track I really like. In practice this morning, I felt better than the previous race, of course the pace was much better and we worked a little bit on speed this week, so the feeling was good. First moto, the start was okay with sixth on the first lap and I knew I needed to attack to win some positions but I made a mistake and touched together with another rider and I put down my knee really hard. I felt it immediately because this knee is giving me some trouble already and it was a big hit. It started swelling up and fluid inside, so I pulled off. Second moto, I was last off the start because it’s a different format than in GPs and I was a little surprised at the silly mistake I did and I had to line up on the outside, which is not the ideal place to start. With the knee in this condition, I couldn’t really pull a good start and then I was out of the top-20. I got back up to 13th but I was struggling a lot with my knee, so I decided it’s not really a good day, let’s move on. We had a good time here. For sure I would like to end up in a different situation but it’s okay. We are not hurt so bad, just a bad day.

Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – Sixth:
We’re taking steps in the right direction. I had a pretty good practice and had some great starts in my motos. The first moto was really good, I charged hard and ended up fourth. The second moto was a little bit of a let-down for me. I felt really good, the bike setup was really good, but I just over-rode a little bit. The track was really gnarly but all-in-all, a lot of positives. I’m really looking forward to this off-week to catch up on some motos and just keep working on things so I can send it into RedBud!

Shane McElrath (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 10th:
It was a little bit rough today, I just struggled with the track from the first time out. I felt pretty good in practice, but it’s a tough track to flow on and I didn’t quite figure it out. I’m a little bit disappointed, but I know that I can be better and we can make some good changes to continue making progress.

Christian Craig (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Eighth:
Our day started off alright. I felt pretty good in practice and qualified seventh, which wasn’t bad. We went into the day wanting to put in two solid motos, and that’s what we did. In the first moto, I didn’t have any flow with the track, but in the second moto, I was able to rebound and battle up towards the front and went 8-6 on the day. I didn’t have the best ride, but we were battling, and our starts were better. We are kind of back on track after a tough Thunder Valley last weekend, but we were just a tick off today and we still need to be a little bit better. We’ll get back to work and move on to RedBud.

Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – First:
It was an awesome weekend! It was our first overall win together in motocross as a team. I’m super thankful for all the work that has been put in, and I’m glad that I was able to get a win for the team. It was a tough fight today in Moto 1, but I was able to get to second. To be honest, I was struggling with a few lines in that first moto, but in the second one, I felt like I was the best guy with the lines, and I was able to make passes and go forward through the pack. I just felt great on the motorcycle in Moto 2 and was riding well. I’m looking to keep this momentum rolling.

Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) – Fourth:
It was a little bit of a struggle bus today. I didn’t really gel with the track really well, with how choppy it was. We’ve got to do better as a team; we’re going to go back and do some work. It was so awesome racing with Dunge; we found each other on the track in both motos. After he passed me, I stalled it at the top of track, and that gave us a big gap. The moto kind of went by pretty quick, and I saw the two-lap board and just wanted to fight for it again. That’s what I did, and with a couple of turns left, I was able to make a pass happen. Every point counts, so it was damage control this weekend, but we’ll go back and enjoy the off weekend but keep working.

Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) – Second:
In the first moto I had the luxury of being able to ride my own lines; it felt like a practice moto for me, so that was obviously really good. When you’re out front on a track like this, you’re able to be more creative and take your time in places that are rough but charge in spots that are not. The second moto, I didn’t really feel like I rode that great, especially in the beginning; I was just kind of bulldogging and not riding super smooth. That was a little bit difficult, and then I made a mistake; I got by Kenny, he got me back and then Eli got me. I think ‘Dunge’ [Ryan Dungey] almost got me too, so I had to kind of kick it in gear there. I got Kenny and then Eli [Tomac] was pretty far ahead at that point. I just tried to ride as hard as I could, but it obviously wasn’t enough to win. It was a good day for me—the first moto was a dream moto and the second moto was a good fight. I’m looking forward to going into my week off and then going into my home race at RedBud.

Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Third:
My day started great. I was able to lay down the fastest lap in qualifying and got a podium finish in the first moto. I struggled to find the right lines in the second moto and had a small tip over, but I still salvaged a third on the day. Overall it was a decent day for us, but I think I can still work on getting better and more comfortable with the bike during this weekend off to be challenging for another win at Redbud.

Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Seventh:
I ended up finishing seventh overall today and got the chance to race with the lead pack early in Moto 1, which was a big confidence booster. I know I have the speed and the skill to mix it up with those guys so it’s nice to see we’re trending in the right direction and getting better each week. We’re going to do some extra bike testing this week and enjoy the weekend off before we head to RedBud for Round 5.

Brandon Hartranft (Twisted Tea Suzuki) – 11th:
It was a much better weekend for me, we made some improvement this past week. We actually went to a slower [detuned] engine, moving towards last year’s set-up, but with a few differences. The day went a lot smoother. I feel like I rode really solid in both motos. I definitely like the east coast tracks. High Point was very gnarly. This track was rough, and you had to be pretty on the money and, those are some of the conditions where I can excel. We ended up 11th overall, just shy of a top 10. The field is very competitive right now, so I need to work on my starts. I’m definitely happy with my progression, but I’m bummed that it’s round four and, I’m only now starting to figure it out. But it’s all good; we’ll keep fighting and will be in the top 10 shortly.

Marshal Weltin (Twisted Tea Suzuki) – 15th:
Round four went pretty well, the team’s doing great, the bike’s great and I’m happy with everything. We’re working well together and are just going to keep picking away and try breaking into that top 10. I feel like I’m riding pretty strong but was a little tight this weekend. Overall, I think I’m in a good place and I’m stoked for my home race at Red Bud, coming up. I’m really aiming to put in some strong results and show up for the home crowd.


Image: Octopi Media.

Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Sixth:
It felt really good to grab both holeshots today and get more experience leading laps at this level. Had I not tipped over in moto two, I think I could’ve put on another good fight for the lead. I was hoping this week would be the week we get an overall podium, but we’re getting better each week. I just need to work on a few things, and I know that overall result will come soon enough.

Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Third:
I still feel a little under the weather. It’s hard to push the entire race because of the cold symptoms, but I’m slowly starting to feel better. I think third overall is a good result for us today. We got a good start in the first moto, but I need to work on getting more consistent with them during this week. Seth showed the KX250 has more than enough power to holeshot, now it’s my turn.

Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Second:
The track was tough and gnarly today—not flowing compared to a traditional High Point—but it was a good one. Me and Jett went 1-2 in the first one, and then 2-1 in the second one. It was a coin toss in that second one, honestly—so close! It was virtually a 35-minute sprint; from the gate drop, we were sprinting the whole moto. Third place was 36 seconds behind us, and I set the fastest lap of the race on the last lap. There will be another time for sure, and I’ll get him back. There’s going to be many more motos just like that one, and I think it’s cool – it’s what everyone has been wanting to see for a long time.

Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
The track was fun, but the main line was always fastest. In that second one, thankfully I had energy, where last week I had none, so I was able to fight a bit. Whenever we’d pass in a certain spot, the next lap we’d block that line. It was a fun race to just go back and forth. We can push the limits hard and get close to each other, but we know we’re technically good enough not to take each other out and end our race. It was fun, but very difficult, because you’d have to use a passing spot and make sure to make the pass, because otherwise he’d know and use that line. For the week off, I’ll probably just keep at it and come back to RedBud.

Michael Mosiman (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – Fourth:
Today was a day of mixed emotions! This track is extremely technical and tough and I think it really fell into a lot of my strengths. I’m proud of where the bike was at and just my riding and speed. It’s a really cool feeling to pass for the lead in the first moto! I was able to make up some really good ground, make good clean passes and that’s a feeling I’m going to remember and replay over in my head and look to repeat throughout the season. I made some mistakes, too, and I’m really going to work on staying engaged and focusing on solutions to put together a solid 35 minutes out there.

Pierce Brown (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – Ninth:
I had just a tough day all-around. I had some decent starts and I was up there in the fight for a little bit but I just struggled today and couldn’t put it all together. I ended up ninth overall, a step forward from last week, so that’s a positive. We’ve been trending in the right direction results-wise from Hangtown until now, but still nowhere near where I should be or where I want to be, so we’re going to do some work during the off-week and be ready for RedBud.

Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Fifth:
The day started off all right, I just didn’t get very good starts today and didn’t put myself in a good position. I didn’t make much progress in the first moto, but in the second one, I was able to make a few passes and get up to the Lawrence brothers. I even made a pass on Jett for a second, but I just didn’t have the pace to run with them. I wasn’t that comfortable out there – this is always one of those tracks that is a little tough to ride. We’re going to take the positives from this weekend, but we definitely need to be better and need to give those guys a fight.

Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 12th:
I’d say the only positive today was two good starts. I just really struggled with kind of everything. I fell the first lap in both motos while I was up front, so I could blame that, but to be honest, just riding-wise I didn’t feel comfortable out there. At the end of the day, I’m glad I’m healthy and we’ll come back stronger at RedBud and do our best.

Nick Romano (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 13th:
It was another up and down day. I qualified really well in eighth, which is the best I’ve qualified so far. When it came to racing, I just wasn’t really riding at my full potential. I wasn’t really gelling with the track or my bike. This track is tough. It was my first time here and it was completely different from what I expected, but no excuses. We’re going to go back and work on our weaknesses during this off-weekend and come back at RedBud.

Matthew LeBlanc (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 14th:
It was kind of a tough day. My qualifying wasn’t that great and then in the first moto, I was around 10th and ended up getting something stuck in my rear brake. I had to roll around a little bit, then it finally freed up and I made a few passes and ended up 12th. In the second moto, it was just a bad first lap and I didn’t put myself in a good spot. I was kind of in the same place the whole moto and didn’t really gain or lose much. Overall, the day wasn’t that great, but we learned some things and we’ll move on to RedBud.

RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Seventh:
Today was a tough day but we battled through it. Did what we could, showed up and gave it all I had today. That was probably the hardest 7-7 I’ve ever had in my life. I’m glad we showed up and went racing today, though. We’ll have a good weekend off now and we’re headed to my favorite track. I’m looking forward to RedBud.

Stilez Robertson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 11th:
The day was up and down for me, I went into the motos confident and really happy. I didn’t get a good jump and in the third-turn, I went down and hit someone’s back tire so I came from last up to 14th. Second moto, I got an okay start and stayed around that position. I battled the whole moto, it was fun, but definitely not where we want to be. We’ll take this weekend off and rest/recoup and come back to my favorite track swinging at RedBud.

Derek Drake (BarX Chaparral Suzuki) – 19th:
In the first moto, I worked my way up to 11th. Then I got fatigued from being sick all week. I just had no energy for the second moto. On the positive side, the bike felt solid out there. The track was super rutty and really tricky!

Preston Kilroy (BarX Chaparral Suzuki) – 23rd:
Overall, the weekend was better than last weekend. I’m still working to find my groove. The track was really tough, which didn’t make things easy. I’m making small improvements each weekend. There’s lots of work to do with this two-week break, but I’m excited to get after it.

Max Vohland (Red Bull KTM) – Eighth:
The day went pretty good, I feel like the riding was the best-ever so far. We nailed the bike setup today – I felt like we could go where we wanted to. The 6-9 results didn’t show how good I rode, but still getting ninth the second moto after being down in the first corner and almost dead-last was great. The riding was good, bike is good, just need to work on some starts before RedBud.